Can You Run in Nike Air Jordans? (Based the 6 Running Factors)

If you’re a sneakerhead who enjoys running, you might have wondered if you can run in Nike Air Jordans.

You shouldn’t run in Nike Air Jordans because they are designed for playing basketball, not running. They are much bulkier and significantly heavier than running shoes because of the materials used and the amount of cushioning. While a leather upper and serious cushion may sound good at first, the weight and overall bulk can lead to injury for runners.

Keep reading to learn more about Air Jordans, why they’re perfect for basketball, and why that makes them bad for long-distance running.

Is It Okay to Run in Nike Air Jordans?

When deciding if Jordans are okay to run in, you need to know a little more about the best design for a practical running shoe and compare it to Jordan’s design.

Nike Air Jordans are not good for running primarily because of their weight. Due to their bulk, running in Nike Air Jordans feels clunkier than running in a standard pair of running shoes. The additional weight makes even the lightest pair of Jordans around 4 lbs.

For a shoe to be considered a running shoe, it should weigh less than 13 ounces (0.81 lbs). The light weight of running shoes, coupled with tech in their design, heel drop, and materials, has been proven to save the average runner up to 4% more energy.

And, basically, all Air Jordans are about the same in terms of style, design, and ergonomics – they are all built as basketball shoes. Here is a quick list of the various styles available in 2022:

  • Nike Air Jordan 1
  • Nike Air Jordan 3
  • Nike Air Jordan 7
  • Nike Air Jordan 11
  • Nike Air Jordan 13
  • Nike Air Jordan XXXVII
  • Jordan Delta
  • Jordan Max Aura
  • Jordan Granville Pro

As a basketball shoe, Nike Air Jordans have a design that differs entirely from a running shoe.

can you run in nike air jordans

Are Nike Air Jordans considered running shoes?

Understanding the differences between a top-tier basketball shoe and a comparatively equal running shoe is an easy way to spot why Nike Air Jordans aren’t running shoes.

Nike Air Jordans aren’t considered running shoes primarily because of their weight and overall bulk. When comparing some of the top running shoe specs to that of Nike Air Jordans, you must look at these different factors:

  • Ergonomics and design
  • Safety
  • Cushion
  • Heel drop
  • Materials
  • Durability

These features play an intricate role in improving athletes in different sports when coupled. To give a proper breakdown, there will be three categories for an accurate comparison.

  • Flat Surface Running Shoe 
  • Trail Running Shoe
  • Basketball Shoe

Each of these differs in design to accomplish a specific goal. Continue reading to find out how shoe tech can influence your performance in particular terrain and sports.

nike air jordans with crazy style

Ergonomics and Design

Each type of shoe requires a different overall design to accommodate certain conditions.

Companies create flat-surface running shoes to maximize speed and performance for both short and long bursts. This requires a more lightweight design, with the top contender’s weight under 8 ounces, significantly less than the Air Jordans’ 4 pounds. 

The material is airy to allow maximum circulation while keeping cushion and stability in mind for long runs.

Most designs for trail running shoes are bulkier than surface running shoes but lighter than basketball shoes. Think of these as armored running shoes designed for off-road trekking.

The treading on the bottom is often more ridged to prevent slips and injuries while trailing. Additionally, the material is slightly more durable for handling rocks, sticks, and other debris.

According to scientists, basketball players switch directions an average of every two seconds during a game. This requires a bulkier shoe design with enough material to absorb shock from constant jumping. Nike Air Jordans also provide ankle stability, which allows players to start and stop swiftly. 

nike air jordans are basketball shoes


Each shoe requires different safety features, depending on the conditions used. This gives each shoe an advantage in specific terrain and performing various tasks.

Nike Air Jordans and other basketball shoes have a bulkier design that protects your ankles and feet from the steady movements involved in basketball. This design is ideal for basketball, but it can carry significant risks if you use them for running.

Flat-surface shoes tend to have smoother, flatter soles that are made to be more durable for running on pavement. They also come with softer midsoles, which help absorb the shock and add cushion. They are also made to be lighter, with more air pockets.

Trail running shoes have more prominent, softer outsoles that provide the best traction. Combined with stiffer midsoles and reinforced upper soles, these shoes are designed to withstand uneven terrain and protect from the elements.


Most shoes in all categories prioritize comfort to some degree, as nobody likes to be in uncomfortable shoes for long periods.

While all three shoes have added cushion, basketball shoes like Jordans have the most of the three categories. This added cushion helps absorb significant shock from jumping and steady movements.

Running and trailing shoes have an equal amount of cushion to one another but lack as much as basketball shoes. This is due to the weight restrictions on running shoes.

nike air jordan cushioning

Heel drop

Heel drop heights differ in shoes, depending on their expected motion and the amount of cushion required in the heel.

Nike Air Jordans typically have heel drops between 0 mm to 10 mm. The heel drop depends on an individual’s preference, as some prefer a heel drop while others perform better without one.

Dedicated road running shoes have a 10mm or higher heel drop. This adds a significant amount of cushion to your heel, influencing you to land on the heel of your foot first. This helps lessen the impact when compared to landing on your toes.

Trail running shoes have heel drops ranging from 0 mm to 12 mm. This depends on what type of terrain a trekker faces.


Companies choose the material of their shoes very carefully, depending on what the end goal is for their target consumer.

Basketball shoes, such as the Nike Air Jordans, are created with suede leather, patent leather, textile, mesh, and canvas. They are meant to be more durable and, with added weight, can handle a sturdier material than running shoes.

Surface running shoes are created with lightweight materials such as compression-molded EVA, polyurethane, and outsole-grade EVA. This is to create a lightweight design that allows significant circulation and keeps the overall design below 1lb.

Trailing shoes are created with materials such as Cordura fabrics. These are resistant to abrasion and water repellent and have a variety of waves in them to distribute weight.


Durability between each sneaker comes down to the material used and its overall bulkiness.

Nike Air Jordans and similar shoes are the most durable, given their bulkier design. Trail running shoes are the second most durable, as they are meant to withstand most outdoor conditions and debris. Surface running shoes have the least durability, as they are created with lighter materials to keep them lightweight.

While Nike Air Jordans aren’t ideal for running, they can come in handy for other sports and activities.

Here is a video from a sneakerhead that wore the Jordan 1s for 5 years and came back with a full review on the durability:

What Kind of Activities Do Nike Air Jordans Handle Best?

Are Air Jordans 1 good for running? Can you run in Jordan 4s?


Can Air Jordan 1 be used for basketball?


Can you wear Jordans to the gym?

Probably not.

old nike air jordans worn out

While running may not be the best use of Nike Air Jordans, you can utilize them for several other activities.

While Jordans are primarily defined for their use in basketball, you may find them functional for other activities and sports. These include:

  • Walking – Taking long walks can be exhausting on your feet. Air Jordans were designed to absorb shock, add cushion, and add ankle stability. This can help ensure your feet don’t start to hurt on a long journey.
  • Trailing – While you may not be able to commit to a trekking adventure, Nike Air Jordans can be used for light daytime trailing. Though they can accommodate rougher terrains, they aren’t as flexible as trailing shoes.
  • Everyday Activity – Jordans are comfortable, reliable, and stylish. This makes them a perfect shoe for going out.

While Nike Air Jordans have many practical uses, running is not one of them. Try to stick to a decent pair of running shoes created to optimize your running experience.

Similar Posts